141 arrests were made by a five-found enforcement task force targetting internet crimes against children, authorities announced Wednesday.
“Operation Protect the Innocent” was conducted Sept. 6-12 by personnel from the Los Angeles Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes more than five dozen law enforcement agencies, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The task force, led by the LAPD, covers Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and the recent enforcement effort coincided with children’s return to school in many jurisdictions, according to the LAPD.
At a news conference Wednesday morning outside LAPD headquarters, LAPD Chief Michel Moore was accompanied by the leaders of numerous law enforcement organizations involved in the operation.
“In 2019, the Los Angeles task force … received 8,525 cyber tip leads (of) online and other sources of suspected child abuse, of child sexual abuse material,” Moore said. “In 2020 that number had grown to more than 24,000, nearly three times.
“This year, in 2022, already by Sept. 12, we have exceeded 25,000 tips and leads,” Moore said. “These cyber tip reports we believe will reach in excess of 36,000 by the end of this year.”
The task force receives cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that involve the possession, distribution and manufacturing of child sexual abuse material, and the sexual exploitation of children through the internet.
Moore urged parents and caregivers to sent tips to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or to Crime Stoppers.
During the operation, task force personnel also conducted compliance checks on those required to register as sex offenders, “with a nexus to internet crimes,” the LAPD said.
“Multiple residential search warrants were served throughout the five counties, in addition to arrest warrants, which focused on child predators,” police said.
Officials released the following details of the 141 arrests:
— 110 people were arrested on suspicion of possession, distribution or manufacturing of child pornography;
— 10 people were arrested for alleged parole violation;
— eight people were arrested for alleged probation violation;
— six people were arrested for alleged sexual abuse of child/oral copulation;
— three people were arrested for alleged disorderly conduct;
— two people were arrested for alleged statuary rape; and
— two people were arrested for alleged pimping.